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CaseDetective 1.3.2 for FogBugz released

A new version of CaseDetective for FogBugz hit the ‘net last night, just a little bug fix release.

First bug: In very rare cases switching the graph to show Release or Priority could cause a crash with a “NilObjectException”, this slippery little sucker has now been squashed.

Second bug: If you change your password within FogBugz 6.0, or are using a new account created in FogBugz 6.0, the password will be encrypted and stored in a new format, this new format is now supported by CaseDetective.

FogBugz 6.0 introduced a new password format, and I didn’t know about it until a customer got a dialogue about the unsupported password format (sure am glad I coded that up).

It must be noted that this doesn’t mean CaseDetective 1.3.2 fully supports FogBugz 6.0, it doesn’t. What it does mean is that the “classic” filters you created in FogBugz 4 & 5 will still work, and any new ones you create this way too, but the new “search” style filters will not work. The new search axis style filters will be supported in CaseDetective 2.0 and CaseDetective On Demand when they are released, hopefully by early 2008.

The inbuilt buy mechanism has also been given a little love, so you can now buy CaseDetective for just $69 from within the trail version to be instantly upgraded from both the Windows and Mac OS X versions.

As always, CaseDetective for FogBugz can be downloaded from for both Windows and Mac OS X.

How's it going with this Flex stuff?

I think it’s sometimes a good idea to conduct a thorough hard-hitting interview with yourself about a subject to fully explore said subject. There now follows an interview between you (U) and me (I), where I pose and answer the questions I think you might ask of me, and I’m not going to hold anything back…

U: A little while ago you talked about redeveloping CaseDetective with Adobe Flex, is that still happening?
Sure is.

U: Great! How are you finding Flex then?
I’m loving it.

U: Care to expand on that, it’s not going to be a great interview if you don’t give me proper answers!
Oh, OK then, sorry.

I’m really enjoying developing with Adobe Flex, it’s name is very apt, the flexibility you have while developing is fantastic. Just being able to drag and drop a number of controls in Flex Builder’s great looking design view, and then switch to source view to add a few extra details is wonderful. The xml like nature of the mxml format makes this a breeze, especially with Flex Builder’s code hints and completion.

ActionScript (Flash Player’s and therefore Flex’s scripting language) is very clean and familiar, being based on the ECMAScript language specification. Anyone with even a smattering of experience in Java or any other modern object orientated language will get on famously with ActionScript. It’s deeply object orientated, it’s amazing what you can do with it, especially as the Flex and Flash libraries are pretty solid, and easy to extend.

U: It looks as though Flex Builder 3 is coming on strong, have you looked at it?
I switched to using Flex Builder 3 beta 1 a couple of months ago!

U: Isn’t that a bit risky, developing on a non-released development platform?
Some might think so, but in this case it works for me.

I started off with Flex Builder 2, bought it (and lot more from Adobe), and it does the job. However, when I saw some of the great new features in Flex Builder 3 I had to take a look.

I spent a good few weeks continuing main development in Flex Builder 2, and then checking out to Flex Builder 3 to see how it handled it. I had no problems at all.

When I played with the new AdvancedDataGrid I knew I couldn’t stay on Flex Builder 2, I wanted the multi-column sorting and grouping functionality the AdvancedDataGrid has to offer.

When I had good long think about it, I realised that I’m not planning to release CaseDetective 2.0 until early next year, which coincides quite nicely with the planned release schedule of Flex Builder 3. So for me it’s a strategically positive plan to develop with the better functionality available in the beta releases and submit any problems to the Flex Builder team, than to carry on using a version that doesn’t give me all of the whiz-bang features I want and that I’d want to upgrade around the time of CaseDetective’s release anyway. Better for me to get ahead of the game and be familiar with the new version of Flex Builder and the Flex SDK than to have to catch up later.

U: You mentioned the AdvancedDataGrid as a feature you’re really enjoying in Flex Builder 3, anything else you’re liking?
The other Flex Builder 3 features that I’m totally and utterly in love with are “Mark Occurrences” and Code Refactor support.

Mark Occurrences highlights every occurrence of a class, function, variable etc that matches the one your cursor is currently on. It’s sounds like a very simple feature, but believe me it’s a really intelligent and very useful one. When your cursor is on a variable name for example, every usage of the variable is highlighted in a nice blue colour, and in the right hand gutter is a little blue block that shows where the occurrences are across the whole file. If you click on one of those gutter blocks the code window moves to show it, which is great for quickly navigating from the declaration to the use of a variable etc. It’s hard to explain, but it works very well and has really sped up navigating source files when editing. What’s particularly nice is that it understands scope, so it knows that the same variable name declared in multiple functions is not the same variable.

The new Refactor contextual menu is very handy when you’re zipping along with development and find you could have named that class, function, variable etc better. Pick refractor -> rename, give it a new name, select Preview to see all the places that it’ll get updated, from the declaration to all the uses, hit OK and the jobs done. Wonderful, saved me a barrel load of time, and what’s more removes all reasons for keeping a rubbish name, making code much easier to read.

Flex Builder 3 Beta 2 was released just a few days ago, and having those two features has made this week one of my most productive and committed development weeks for a long time!

U: Thanks for giving us the time for this interview Ian, much appreciated.
You’re welcome, enjoyed it.

Neat FogBugz In Depth Movie.

Here’s a quick link to the “FogBugz In Depth Movie“, which is an entertaining run through of the new stuff in FogBugz 6.0, and re-enforces some of the reasons FogBugz works the way it does.

Well worth a look if you’re thinking about trying FogBugz, or even if you’re an existing user.

Will the iPhone be on Vodaphone in the UK?

I just called Vodaphone to check up on something on my latest bill only to be told that they couldn’t get any info on my account as their systems were being upgraded. The rep said someone would call me back when their systems were available, it would be about an hour and a half. That was just before 9am.

There’s a London Apple event happening at 10am. This might be a complete red herring, a total coincidence, but could all the rumours about O2 getting the iPhone be wrong? Could it be Vodaphone?

Fingers crossed!

Update: Oh crap, it’s O2, the one carrier I vowed never to use again after some seriously bad experiences with their customer reps!

Quick FogBugz Tip: Activating Community Users

If you decide to activate the community users functionality in FogBugz 6.0 so that people can create an account that keeps proper track of your discussion groups, don’t forget to actually allow registration!

To make sure community user accounts can be registered, go to Settings > Site from the top right menu, and then select the Authentication tab.

Make sure the New User Control drop down is set to “Anybody can create a community account”, and the Community Users feature is on.


Once you click the OK button you’ll have a little “Register” link in the top right of your FogBugz page when it’s visited by someone who’s not logged on.

I missed that “Anybody can create a community account” step first time round, so thought I’d share it.

FogBugz 6.0 for Windows released.

Excellent news, FogBugz 6.0 for Windows has been released.

It’s no secret that I and many others have been using the betas for some months now, and boy am I happy with this release!

There’s a tonne of cool new shiny things to play with in this new release, you should definitely check out the What’s New page.

My favourite new features and improvements?

1) Super Duper API!
It may be the penultimate item in the list of new features on Fog Creek’s list, but it’s number one on mine! I don’t have to duplicate all the search/filter functionality of FogBugz in CaseDetective any more. Woohoo!

2) Super Duper Search!
The search and filter mechanism has been totally overhauled, you can now search by many different axis, in any combination, and then search within the results of a filter. This feature is going to make a lot of existing FogBugz users incredibly happy.

3) Resolve and Close.
It may not sound like much, but being able to resolve and close a case I opened with the press one button is going to save me countless hours.

There are so many other great features introduced and improved in FogBugz 6.0, such as the Wiki functionality, Evidence-Based Scheduling, automated timesheets, community users and many more.

It really is a stonkingly good release, my hat goes off to Fog Creek for delivering such a great product in FogBugz 6.0.

So, now I have to work like crazy to get CaseDetective 2.0 out the door. Thanks a bunch Fog Creek! ;-)

The IMiJ Software forums are now closed

I’ve had enough, SPAM on my company’s forum has got way out of control.

Day and night SPAMers are registering new users and attempting to post to the forum, meaning I’m having to do heaps more admin than I should, banning users and deleting the odd post that gets through the Akismet filtering. Not fun.

So, considering the forums haven’t really been a success anyway, I’ve stopped new user registration or any new posts. I’ve also deleted all users with no posts, which may have caught the odd genuine lurker in the cross-fire, but seeing as no one can post anymore, this can’t be much of an issue.

Forums are one of those topics often discussed in the world of the microISV, as they have many pros and cons.

Some of the pros being the potential for reduced support costs as common questions will be answered via a quick search of the forum, users can support each other in many cases, and a thriving community centred around your software can be a wonderful thing.

But there are of course negatives, the chief of them being that if the forums are quiet it can reflect badly on your products, people can get the impression that the product isn’t doing well, whether it is or not.

My forums have been very quiet, and the users of the forums haven’t really got into any kind of discussions, so there isn’t even a fledgling community there. Closing them seems like the most sensible thing to do at this moment in time.

The forums are going to remain up for the time being, simply because there are a couple of links to content in them from external sources as well as my own sites. But come the release of CaseDetective 2.0 I expect I’ll be removing them. I may replace them with a FogBugz style discussion group in the future, but there’s a good chance I’ll wait until I have too many requests for forums that I can’t ignore it, and am reasonably sure they are going to be used. That may be once I have more than just CaseDetective as an offering.

And yes, I’m very aware that I haven’t linked to the IMiJ Software forums from within this post, that’s totally intentional! :-)

Switched to FogBugz On Demand / Workaround for changed scoutSubmit URL.

At the end of last week I created a brand new (free) FogBugz On Demand account, extracted my existing FogBugz MySQL database with mysqldump, and submitted it to Fog Creek to get it loaded up into my new account.

It took a few days before my new account was fully loaded, it seams Fog Creek have a little back log of uploads to do, obviously FogBugz On Demand has proven popular.

All is fine and dandy now, my support email is getting pulled into FogBugz On Demand directly from the POP3 account on my domain host (there was a little blip with the first couple of emails not being deleted from the POP3 server at first, but since then it’s worked flawlessly), and I can access my cases and get notifications with no problems.

However, there is one little gotcha, ScoutSubmit, the mechanism used by my applications (see RBScoutSubmit) for submitting crash data directly into FogBugz.

You see, my applications used to send their scoutSubmit data to my Mac OS X server sitting in my office at home, via a domain called that I setup at my domain host to point back to my ADSL static IP address. This worked fine, occaisionally my ADSL would go down, so for an hour or two I might not get any crash data, but seeing as I can go weeks, if not months without a crash being reported, that wasn’t a big deal.

So, to make the switch seamless, I figured all I had to do was point to the my new FogBugz On Demand domain via a CNAME alias, and I’d be home and dry.

How wrong could I be!

First, my old FogBugz server was at, and the new FogBugz On Demand server doesn’t have a /fogbugz/ path, oops!

Second, even once I had the new CNAME directive in place, when I accessed FogBugz On Demand complained about there not being an account setup for, oops again!

I contacted Fog Creek support to see if there was any way round the domain name not being a valid account issue, seems they are aware of it, and would love to be able to do something about it, and with a little work could probably get something in place, but there’s one big problem, SSL certificates. Currently, all FogBugz On Demand accounts are served up via HTTPS, as you would expect, and all are covered by the certificate. Getting something in place that allowed other domain names to be used instead, with valid SSL certificates, that’s gonna be a nightmare, if it could be done.

The only option therefore would seem to be to change all my code to point to the new FogBugz On Demand URL, or switch back to using my own server.

I’m getting rid of my server soon (I’ll talk about that in a future post), so switching back is not an option.

I don’t want to change my code and release new versions of my applications to point to my new FogBugz On Demand account either, not only because I would then have to change and release new versions again if I decide FogBugz On Demand really isn’t for me (unlikely), but also because there are numerous versions of my applications already “out there” using the old url.

So, the first (should that be second?) solution I came up with was to setup my domain as a proper website on my domain host, and use a rewrite rule in a .htaccess file to proxy the requests through to FogBugz On Demand. This almost worked, I could get it working while accessing the website myself, but submitting data (using POST rather than GET) to scoutSubmit.php didn’t work, even with the rules taking into considderation the switch to ASP from PHP. I spent many hours last night on this, and then it struck me…

… I needed a proxy script, just like the one I’ve already developed for CaseDetective On Demand!

You see, CaseDetective On Demand is built with Flex, which runs in your web browser’s Flash engine plugin, which is very very serious about security. From Flash, you can’t grab data from any old domain, you have to have the authority to do so. To get data from a website without them putting a little file (crossdomain.xml) on their website that gives you permission, you have to use a proxy script. A proxy script is something non-Flash that you put on a site that you have control over and trust, which takes your request, forwards it onto the real destination url and then returns the results when they come back.

I built one of these little scripts for CaseDetective On Demand, so it wasn’t too hard to strip it down a little and make one for this job. You can download an example of the proxy script if you so wish.

The script works for both GET and POST methods of submitting data to scoutSubmit.php, I’ve placed this script in a fogbugz directory under my root, with the root and fogbugz directory protected from prying eyes with a dummy index.html.

If you’re considdering switching from your own Linux or Mac OS X FogBugz install to the excellent FogBugz On Demand service, this script may just come in handy. You need to edit it before you use it to change the destination to your own FogBugz On Demand url, I think it’s pretty obvious as to where you do this.

Awsome new theme for this here blog.

Thank you N.Design Studio.


For over a year now I’ve been routinely typing the word mnemonic as part of my development work for a client.

Isn’t it ironic that I still stumble over this word when trying to remember how it’s spelt?

Also, wasn’t the Johnny Mnemonic film a complete let-down if you’d already read the story in Burning Chrome?

Just a thought.